St. Peter, Minn. – The Gustavus men’s basketball team is set to open its 2013-14 season on Friday night when the Gusties host Simpson College at Gus Young Court. Following Friday night’s game, Gustavus will host Buena Vista University on Saturday night. Both tip offs are set for 7:00 p.m.
Gustavus will look to get back to the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) Playoffs after failing to qualify for the conference tournament for the first time in 12 years last season. The Gusties finished the year with an overall record of 13-11 and an MIAC mark of 11-9 to tie for fifth in the league standings. However, a three-way tie saw Gustavus on the outside looking in as it was knocked from playoff contention on the final day of the season.
This year, Gustavus will look to nine returning letterwinners to replace 65 percent of its scoring that was lost to graduation a year ago. The bulk of that scoring came from MIAC All-Conference players Jim Hill (15.6 ppg) and Ben Biewen (14.6 ppg), leaving room for players like lone senior wing Jordan Dick (Wabasha, Minn.) and junior guard Isaac Tapp (Jr., Stewartville, Minn.) to expand their roles offensively.
Last season, Dick started all 24 games and led the team in minutes played (28.8 mpg). He averaged 7.4 points (5th/MIAC) and 3.5 rebounds (t-3rd/team) per game, while shooting 49.3 percent (67-136) from the field, 45.3 percent (29-64) from the three-point line, and 83.3 percent (15-18) from the free throw line. Tapp also started all 24 games, averaging 7.7 points (4th/team) and 2.1 assists (3rd/team). He shot 51.7 percent (77-149) from field goal range and 41.9 percent (18-43) from three-point range.
The Gusties will look for increased production from wing Martin Feddersen (Jr., Winona, Minn.) and post Brody Ziegler (So., Mankato, Minn.). A defensive stopper, Feddersen was second on the team in steals (27) and third on the team in assists (41) despite missing six games due to injury last year. He also grabbed 49 rebounds (2.7 rpg) and shot an even 50 percent (13-26) from the floor. Ziegler made a splash with his athleticism in his rookie season. The sophomore played in 19 games, averaging 15.1 minutes, 5.1 points, and 3.5 rebounds (t-3rd/team) per contest.
Junior post Brian Jacobs (Lake Crystal, Minn.) and sophomore wing Chad Poppen (St. Peter, Minn.) also expect to see more playing time this year. Jacobs saw the floor in 18 games last season, averaging 8.7 minutes per game. Poppen came off the bench in 23 of 24 games last season, averaging 13.2 minutes per contest. He shot 47.4 percent (18-38) from the field and 40.9 percent (9-22) from three.
Others adding depth on the perimeter this season are juniors Jed Kreuser (Jordan, Minn.) and Malcolm Farley (Coon Rapids, Minn.), sophomore Chris Narum (Eagan, Minn.), and first-year players Coleman Sweeney (Lake City, Minn.) and Alec Koster (Redwood Falls, Minn.).
Junior Dane Schmid (Mahtomedi, Minn.), sophomores Scott Mulder (Sioux Falls, S.D.) and Sergio Najera (New Prague, Minn.), as well as newcomer Peter Kruize (St. Peter, Minn.) will look to add production from the post.